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Animals and plants in Jægersborg Dyrehave

Animal life

Deer

The deer population in Dyrehaven holds 300 red deer, 1,600 fallow deer and 300 sika deer. This is an ideal number of deer so that through biting at the trees they preserve the landscape, maintaining with light under the trees and in open plains.

Red deer

The red deer immigrated to Denmark 10,000 years ago and is Denmark’s largest wild terrestrial mammal. The red deer stag can be up to 140 cm at the shoulder, weigh up to 230 kg, and they grow and shed large antlers every year. The female red deer is somewhat smaller and is called a hind. Red deer are usually dark-brown, but white red deer also exist. The escutcheon, which is the part of the behind that encircles the tail, is tawny.  The hinds and their fawn mainly stay in the southern part of Dyrehaven, and the stags in the northern part. They only meet during the rut in September and October.

Fallow deer

The fallow deer disappeared from Danish latitudes in the glacial period, but were reintroduced as decorative animals in the 13th century. The buck can be up to 95 cm at the shoulder and weigh 100 kg, and the doe, the female fallow deer, is somewhat smaller.  Fallow deer can be black, white or brown. Their escutcheon is white with three vertical black stripes that look like the number 111. The fallow deer is in rut in October and November.


 

Plant life

Trees

Dyrehaven is well-known for its ancient isolated oak trees and hawthorn (for more information see Attractions), but the park also has nearly all Danish tree species, for instance in Fortunens Indelukke. Trees that die are left to rot. Therefore there are many insects that attract birds.

Mushrooms

Dyrehaven has the greatest biodiversity of mushrooms in Denmark, with more than 300 different species. There is no point in looking for them on the ground, because the deer also like mushrooms. Instead, look for them up in the trees above the reach of the game. For instance, beefsteak fungus which grows on oak trees that it slowly destroys. The beefsteak fungus looks like a real ox tongue. It has a mild acidic taste and is delicious raw and drizzled with lemon juice.

Sika deer

The sika deer originates from eastern Asia and was introduced to Denmark in the 20th century. The stag is up to 80 cm at the shoulder and weighs 50 kg, the hind only weighs 35 kg. The rut is from September to January. The summer coat is reddish-brown with yellowish-white spots. The winter coat is a uniform dark brown, and the escutcheon is heart-shaped and white, surrounded by a black stripe.

Other animals

Dyrehaven is packed with old hollow trees, and therefore there are many hole-brooding birds; primarily tawny owls, black woodpeckers and the more common spotted woodpecker. The tree creeper also thrives in old trees, and at Mølleåen you can see ravens, nightingales, kingfishers and dippers.

Bats, and not least the noctule bat, hibernate in the hollow trees.

In the middle of the Eremitagesletten is the Iglehullet waterhole and this, as well as other waterholes, have medicinal leeches. This species has been used in medicine for thousands of years, primarily for blood-letting. The medicinal leech can be up to 15 cm long. Other old species in the waterholes include fairy shrimp and horseshoe crabs.